First of all, a big wow to all three of the people who ended up finishing the 50 miles... amazing!
Now to continue. Got up at 4am, had a coffee, got last minute stuff packed. I'm really glad that I usually pack most of the stuff the night before... I would definitely forget something getting up that early! Then Chris and I picked up the zipcar we rented, then on to pick up JD. One thing about travelling that early in the morning is there isn't much traffic, so it didn't take us long to get to the race.
Chris and JD were starting at 7am, so I decided to wait to get my race stuff after they left, my race didn't start until 9:00am. Then we stood in the rain waiting for the 50 mile and 52k to start. They were off.
I headed back to the school to get my bib and t-shirt. Got my bag from the car so I could try to decide what to wear. No matter what I decided, I was going to get wet, the question was, how wet... should I wear something to keep the wind off as well? Should I wear another layer in case it gets a little colder, or will that be too much and I'll get too hot? Really hard to decide! I decided on a ballcap, long sleeve shirt, capris and a windbreaker and, of course, gloves.
As I was waiting for the 9am start, it seemed like the weather was getting worse. It was raining cats and dogs, the wind was so strong that the rain was sideways... great, just how you love to start a race! I was talking with a few others while we were waiting, we kept saying, maybe once we get into the woods, the trees will shelter us from the wind and rain... yeah, we're going to go with that, keep the spirits up. Because of the rain, the announcements were held inside the school, then we walked over to the start. This was going to suck... but maybe once we get into the woods...
The race started and we were off!! Once we got into the woods, it actually wasn't too bad, it did shelter us from the wind and rain, a little. So far, it was okay, I can do this.
Then we got to the river crossing. I seem to remember last year the water was clear. Couldn't really see the rocks or the bottom... this was going to be scary. Very carefully, step, get your footing, step, get your footing... man that water was cold! After a while I could feel my feet again and was running well again. It was starting to get pretty muddy, slowed me down a little, but what can you do. Then I stepped into a deep mud bog and it almost took my shoe off, and wrenched my leg a little... going to feel that later. Still, had to keep up the good spirits, I was out here, I was doing it... just get it done. Saw a bunch of 52k/50 mile people on their way back, they seemed to be in good spirits still. Saw Chris, he warned me that there were some really muddy places close to the cliffs, to be careful.
Finally I got to the turn around. By the way, thanks to all the volunteers... they had to stand around in the wind and the rain for us. They were awesome!
Started back, thinking, okay, you're halfway there, now just to run back... it always seems quicker on the way back... right? So far it was okay, still doing it. The rain let up a little, it was still windy, but starting to dry out a bit... it was kinda nice. That didn't last too long, the rain came back and harder. The wind seemed to pick up too. A few places in the woods you could hear the trees cracking in the wind. Poor trees. There were some downed trees on the trail that didn't seem to be there on the way out.
How the heck to the 50k and 50 milers do it, I was thinking. Man, they are pretty strong and amazing. Maybe someday I'll be able to run like that.
I get this feeling in my shoes, are my socks bunching up? What the hell is in my shoes? As it turns out, it was mud, it even got inside my socks! How the hell does that get in there?
Now I was getting really frustrated... I was cold, my legs were sore from getting wrenched in the mud bogs... I just wanted this to be over! JD passed me. He did his 52k faster than I did 29k... I feel so lame... okay, stop thinking that way!
Then I was running and realized that there were no more flags... uh-oh. I turned around, whew, there were some flags back there, didn't go too far off. Well, got to where the flags were and the trail kind of went around a tree... I couldn't remember which way I came from... this was not good. Do I remember going down that little hill? Crap! Okay, think for a minute... flags on the left going back, I'm pretty sure that's right. Ran that way for a while, yes, it was right, saw the river and the flags on the other side, whew!
Got to the river crossing again... this means I'm not too far from base camp... yeah! The river was a bit higher and there was no one around. I had to be very careful, if you get swept away in this... don't even want to think about that. Got across, slowly but surely... man that water was cold!! Okay, just keep going, you're almost finished.
Finally, saw the soccer field... hurray, I'm almost done!! Did my best to run up the hill, then had to run around the track... there were even puddles on the track... As I was almost at the finished, I saw Chris coming up behind me. I waited for him at the finish line. He knew he didn't have time to finish his 50 miles before the cut off, but he was okay with it. We grabbed our stuff and went to the car so that we could get some dry stuff to put on.
Got into the school, went into the change room. I wanted to get into a nice warm shower and wash off all this mud and maybe warm up a little. It's hard to warm up when the shower you're standing under is trying to sandblast your skin off. Oh well, got all the mud off at least. Got dried off and changed and went to get something to eat. It's really hard to eat anything when you're shivering... stuff goes flying all over the place! A couple people looked at me and said "your lips are getting bluer by the minute". That's probably not a good thing. I put on another layer and eventually the shivering stopped.
I ran this race last year and it was awesome. It still is awesome, except the weather sucked this year, but there's not much you can do about that. I will definitely run this race again next year, hopefully the weather will be better.
I've come to realize that I need to get a whole lot stronger if I want to run a 50k this year...